S-Antigen, a photoreceptor cell protein, is highly efficient in inducing experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis (EAU), a severe inflammation of the uveal tract and retina of the eye. S-Antigen and six synthetic peptides, all of which correspond to known T-cell or B-cell recognition sites, were tested for their ability to induce oral tolerance to EAU in LEW rats. Feeding three 1-mg doses of native S-Antigen or three doses of one synthetic peptide, designated BSA(343-362) (200 micrograms per dose), reduced the incidence and severity of EAU induced by immunization with 50 micrograms of S-Antigen. Another peptide, BSA(270-289), was able to inhibit EAU only when a low dose (10 micrograms) of the uveitogenic S-Antigen was used to induce EAU. Animals which received 200 micrograms doses of four other immunologically active peptides, BSA(31-51), BSA(143-162), BSA(303-327) and BSA(333-352), were not significantly protected. Furthermore, animals fed BSA(343-362) were significantly less susceptible to EAU induced by adoptive transfer (tEAU) of the uveitogenic R9 T-cell lines. Con A-activated lymphocytes purified from spleens of rats fed peptide BSA(343-362) transferred partial resistance to tEAU induced by adoptive transfer of R9 line cells. The resistance of orally tolerized rats to induction of EAU by adoptive transfer of an activated, pathogenic T-cell line, and the ability of lymphocytes from orally-tolerized animals to transfer resistance to tEAU shows that effector mechanisms can be inhibited by oral feeding as well as the afferent mechanisms reported here and elsewhere. Circulating levels of IgG specific for S-Antigen were not affected by feeding any of the peptides.